Sunday, July 5, 2020

Trustees approve increase to 2019-20 room, board rates, other items

April 12, 2019
<p>Interim President Satish Udpa, left, and trustee Byrum, right, listen at the Board of Trustees meeting on April 12, 2019 at the Administration Building.</p>

Interim President Satish Udpa, left, and trustee Byrum, right, listen at the Board of Trustees meeting on April 12, 2019 at the Administration Building.

Photo by Annie Barker | The State News

The Michigan State Board of Trustees approved an increase to room and board rates for the 2019-20 academic year at its Friday meeting.

Room and board rates will increase by 1.95% for 2019-20, compared to an uptick of 2.97% for the 2018-19 year.

A standard residence hall double room and silver unlimited meal plan currently costs $10,272. When the rate increase goes into effect next year, it'll cost $10,472 for the same combination, meaning a $200 difference.

Vice President for Auxiliary Enterprises Vennie Gore said the increase is the lowest they've had in several years.

"This represents 1.95%, which is the lowest rate increase we've had in 20-plus years that we can actually find on record," Gore said.

It also represents what we see as a 2.75% increase in our labor and a 3.8 percent increase in food costs, according to Gore. That comes out to $47 per day.

A 1% rate increase for 1855 Place and University Village Apartments was also approved for 2019-20.

Trustee and board chairperson Dianne Byrum attributed the change to cost of living increases, materials, personnel salaries, food and upgrades to residence halls.

Change to traffic ordinance

A change was also made to Bicyclists – Traffic Ordinance 33.00. The board approved an amendment to the ordinance to include a provision for electric scooter operation on campus bike lanes and roads.

Chief of MSU Police Kelly Roudebush said the amendment was needed because campus transportation is continuously evolving. The police department will begin designating parking locations for e-scooters.

“Our goal is to provide a safe environment for any type of mobility device including buses, cars, pedestrians, bicyclists and e-scooters,” Roudebush said.

Renovations

The board also approved funding for construction projects. A $5 million budget increase was approved for College of Music renovations, as was $6 million in renovations to Cowles House.

Cowles House, the oldest building on campus, is traditionally the home of MSU’s president. Planned renovations include accessibility improvements, new terraces and a new garage.

Trustee Brianna Scott said the necessity of the improvements became apparent during a tour of the facility Thursday.

“There needs to be upgrades to the home, in order to hopefully attract our new president to live on campus, which I think is going to be a huge compliment to what we’re trying to do in changing the culture at MSU,” Scott said. “It really is not livable, which I think we all saw when we did the tour yesterday, and that those upgrades are desperately needed."

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